Contributor: Adam Justinger
Motor vehicle accidents happen every day. Whether it’s a minor fender bender or a serious fatal accident, there are certain requirements drivers are required to comply with in North Dakota. If a driver fails to comply with these requirements, there are serious repercussions. These repercussions can include both criminal penalties as well as administrative/civil penalties.
Under North Dakota law, there are many duties a driver has if they are involved in an accident. Most of the requirements depend on the facts of the accident. In this blog, we will run through a few of the scenarios.
First, for an accident in North Dakota that results in injury or death to a person or any damage to any vehicle which is driven or attended by a person, there are certain requirements that must be followed. The person shall give the driver’s name, address, the name of the motor vehicle insurance policy carrier of the driver and owner, and the registration number of the vehicle. The driver upon request must also provide their driver’s operator’s or chauffeur’s license to the person struck or injured. If an individual is injured, a person also shall render reasonable assistance to the injured party, which may include making arrangements for medical attention for the injured person.
Next, for an accident involving an unattended vehicle, a driver shall immediately stop and shall locate and notify the operator or owner of the vehicle of their name, address, and the name of the motor vehicle insurance policy carrier of the driver/owner of the vehicle that struck the unattended vehicle. If the owner of the unattended vehicle cannot be located, the driver shall leave in a conspicuous place in the vehicle struck a written notice giving the name, address, motor vehicle insurance policy carrier, and a statement of the circumstances of the collision.
For an accident that involves highway fixtures or other property, a driver shall take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in charge of the property of the damage. The driver shall provide the driver’s name, address, and registration number of the vehicle the driver is driving. Additionally, upon request and if available, the driver shall exhibit the driver’s, operator’s, or chauffeur’s license. The driver also needs to report the crash when required under North Dakota law and shall provide the name of the motor vehicle insurance policy carrier and the policy number of the driver or the information of the owner of the vehicle.
Additionally, in certain situations, drivers must also report the accident to law enforcement. If the driver of a vehicle is involved in an accident resulting in injury or death of an individual, or property damage to an apparent extent of at least four thousand dollars, they must immediately give notice of the accident to the local police department if the accident occurs within a municipality. Otherwise, the drivers must report the accident to the office of the county sheriff or the state highway patrol.
If a driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury or death fails to comply with these requirements, they could face a class A misdemeanor if an injury occurs, a class C Felony if serious injury occurs, or a class B felony if death occurs. See N.D.C.C. § 39-08-04. For accidents involving damage to a vehicle, an individual can be charged with a class B misdemeanor. See N.D.C.C. § 39-08-05. An individual who fails to notify the owner of an unattended vehicle can face a class A misdemeanor. See N.D.C.C. § 39-08-07. An individual who fails to immediately notify law enforcement of the accident could be assessed a fine of fifty dollars. See N.D.C.C. § 39-08-09. While these are a few of the possible penalties associated with leaving the scene of an accident, it is not an exhaustive list of possible charges an individual could face.
In addition to possible criminal consequences, an individual can also face administrative consequences with their license. For example, leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage results in fourteen points being added to your driving record. Leaving the scene of an accident involving injury or death results in eighteen points on your license. Failing to give immediate notice of an accident can result in six points being added to your license. If a driver accumulates twelve points or more, their driving privileges will be suspended for seven days for each point over eleven.
Not only can individuals face driver’s license suspensions, but they could also face civil consequences. This could include civil lawsuits for injuries and/or damages that were caused as a result of the accident.
In North Dakota, if you are in an accident, there are certain requirements you must comply with. If not, you could be charged with a crime. If you are involved in an accident and need immediate assistance, you can contact Adam Justinger, day or night, by calling his direct line at 701-484-3618.
For help with criminal matters in North Dakota or Minnesota, please contact SW&L Attorneys at 701-297-2890. For future articles, check out our blog. This article is for informational purposes only and is subject to our disclaimer.